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Friday, September 12, 2014

What's In a Name?

Okay, so this is going to be an entry that starts off being a FOODIE FRIDAY entry, but might turn out to be more like a WHO AM I WEDNESDAY entry.  So, I suppose we could call today WRIDAY?  Or perhaps FREDNESDAY?

Whatever you want to call it, this is the story of a particular beverage, and how it will become a discussion about names.

By now, I'm sure you have seen the latest promotion that soft drink company Coca-Cola launched this summer.  For presumably a limited time only, you can buy bottles and cans of Coca-Cola in all three varieties (Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coke Zero) with a person's name stamped on the label.  The labels tell you to share a Coke with the person on the label, but let's face it - most of us really just wanted to find a Coke with our names on it.

Now, I don't know what the name selection was like in the United States, but one thing I noticed in Canada was the unique selection of names that appeared on 591 mL bottles of Coke products.  Sure, you had common names such as Jennifer, Stephanie, Lauren, Michael, Steven, and Benjamin.  But you also had names like Preet, Shabnam, Zhang, Chen, and Mohammad.  Very cool for Coca-Cola to really release global names so that more people could have the chance to find their name on a Coke label.

Of course, if you spell your name with a unique spelling (like Elizabyth, Rochelle, or Kymberlyn), might have to custom order your special Coca-Cola bottle.

Now, I'll tell you something.  It took me forever to find a bottle with my name on it.  And, it's not as though the name Matthew is all that uncommon of a name.  I'll get to that story a little bit later on, but I have dealt with this kind of frustration before.  One day, I was literally rummaging through every Coke product that was available looking for my name.  It seemed as though they had every other "M" name available.  Madison, Maurice, Melanie, Mick, Michelle, heck, I think I even found a Mordecai in the pile.  But it would take me about three weeks before I found my bottle.

And, here it is up above!  Granted, it's Diet Coke, but given that it had my name on it, I didn't care what kind of beverage it was.  Interestingly enough, once I found that bottle, I ended up doing a triple play, finding one each of Coke, Diet Coke, and Coke Zero with the name "Matthew" on it. 

I couldn't believe my luck!  I never usually have any sort of luck finding my name.  Why, until recently, I always seemed to have a huge problem locating any sort of personalized object with my name on it!

Now, to explain the reason why this was the case, we have to go back in time about...oh...thirty-three and one-quarter years ago to May 1981.  That was the month that yours truly first got a glimpse of this crazy place known as Planet Earth.  And for the first three days of my life, I did NOT have a name.

Yeah, I'll be perfectly honest.  In my family, I was known as the "Uh-Oh".  I wasn't planned at all.  Take into consideration that my siblings are nine and fifteen years older than I am.  My parents were both in their mid-thirties at the time of my birth.  The last thing they wanted to do before their sixteenth wedding anniversary was have another child - and yet, here I came!  So, needless to say, I don't think giving me a name was really a top priority.  They didn't even know what sex I was until the day I was born.

SNARKY COMMENT:  I mean, it's not like they didn't have time to discuss it.  I was born three weeks past my expected due date of April 30, 1981! 

Anyway, the reason why it took my family three whole days to come up with a name for me was because nobody could agree on one.  Granted, the middle name was pretty easy to figure out (and no, I won't reveal my middle name in public, though some of you reading this probably already know it).  But the first name was the kicker.

Here are some of the names that my family came up with that eventually went on the reject pile.

Name #1:  Dakota

Okay, to me, Dakota is a name that would work better for females.  I don't know what it is about Dakota that my dad thought was so great - maybe because it sounded western (my dad is like the very definition of country boy), or maybe because North Dakota is his favourite American state...I don't know.  Whatever the case, he liked the name Dakota.  And, granted, Dakota is a nice name.  I know friends who have named their children Dakota (all daughters, might I add), and actress Dakota Fanning certainly made a name for herself from child to adult.

I just don't think Dakota Turcotte has that nice ring to it.  Do you?

Name #2:  Cody

Now, Cody was my mom's original idea.  And, it was sort of a way to appease my dad because she explained that Cody was an abbreviated version of the name "Dakota".  But, honestly, I think my mom was just trying to tell my father in a nice way that there was no way in hell that she wanted a son named Dakota!

Here's the thing.  Cody is a fairly nice name.  I have nothing against it.  I just don't think that I would make a very good Cody.  Let Kathie Lee Gifford name her child Cody.  That's fine for him.  He actually kind of looks like a Cody.  I don't think I look like a Cody. 

Name #3:  Schuyler

Ah, yes.  Schuyler (pronounced like Skylar).  To be honest with you, I could probably think of worse names that my sisters could have come up with.  Truth be told, I have nothing against this name possibility at all.  I quite like the name myself.  What I didn't really like was the reason why they wanted to name me Schuyler.

You see, my sisters were fifteen and nearly nine when I was born.  And for the sake of argument, I'll just mention that their first names are Dawn and Starr.  Now, I really don't have any idea how my parents came up with the name Dawn.  Maybe they just felt that it was a beautiful name, and they went with it.  But in the case of Starr, my father was the brainchild behind that name, naming her after the character that Shirley Temple played in the film "Captain January". 

(Though admittedly, I'd have been more impressed if they told me they named her after Ringo Starr.  Now that would have been cool!)

Anyway, their names also have to do with - wait for it - the sky!  The period between night and early morning is typically known as "dawn".  And at nighttime, you can often see "stars" in the sky.  Ergo, by naming me Schuyler, they could give me the nickname of "Sky", and then we'd be Dawn, Starr, Sky.

You see why I am so happy that they voted NO on that name?  How cheesy could you get?  Well, that plus when I was in school, I had to deal with a rather unpleasant person who also happened to have a similar name.  Yeah, given that, I'm sort of glad that they denied that name.

Actually, given my parents love of old school country, my sister's love of Kiss, and my other sister's love of Duran Duran, it's a wonder I wasn't named "Merle", "Gene", or "Simon LeBon".

So, how did they end up naming me Matthew?  Simple.  They looked at a baby book and chose the most popular name for boys.  Back in '81, that was "Matthew".  Actually, between 1981 and 2000, it was practically in the Top 5 for twenty consecutive years!  My second grade teacher nearly had a coronary when she discovered that there were SIX Matthews in her classroom!

So, now I suppose that you know where I am going with this.  With so many Matthews in the world, finding keychains, pens, T-shirts, and other pieces of memorabilia became as difficult as Indiana Jones' quest in finding that golden idol that releases that boulder in "Raiders of the Lost Ark"!  It was so frustrating going to different stores and seeing the "Matthew" section always sold out of items.  I cursed the fact that my parents had to choose a popular name because I could never find anything with my name on it.  It wouldn't be until I hit my thirties that it became a lot easier.

I'm sure that anyone named Liam, Noah, or Ethan in 2014 can relate to what anyone named Matthew, Jason, or Michael had to endure in 1984.

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